Saturday, February 27, 2016

December 2015 Monthly Wrap Up

Hey guys! I know I said I would post this shortly after the November one, but my hand's been driving me nuts, so I'm doing it now, and then will post my January and February Wrap Up's as it's near the end of February. My year in review as well as the 2015 KittyBook Awards will be YouTube videos. I haven't had a chance to work the next video beyond filming it but expect it soon! :)

I read a LOT in December, mostly to try to meet my Goodreads goal, which was a little ridiculous, and it was  I have 27 different books to talk about. Yeah. That's a lot. *glances at my right hand* Please survive this...

Okay so if you want to see all my emotions put in gif form right after I finished it, check it HERE.
Basically as this is the 12th volume of the latest ElfQuest story I will say this READ ELFQUEST IF ONLY TO GET TO THE AMAZINGNESS OF THIS SERIES I ADORE IT IT'S AWESOME OKAY I'M DONE TYPING IN ALL CAPS.

Yeah, it's awesome. :)

I started the month by reading the last chapter in the last volume in one of my favorite series ever. Dengeki Daisy is a must read if you like manga. Teru's older brother and parents have passed away, but before her brother died, he gave her a cell phone with a number to email/text (unsure which it is exactly) to a man named Daisy who will help her in anything she needs. But she's been lying to him and now he's checking up on her to make sure she's alright. Oh, and he's also the greatest hacker in the world, and her cell phone may have some important program in it that various organizations are attempting to cease by any means necessary.

I expected this to start off cute, and while the text/email (again I'm not sure which it actually is) reads cute and like the girl is super happy go lucky, but then Kurosaki moves the phone and we see Teru facing down bullies spraying her with water, and she's screaming insults right back at them. For once in a shojo the MC is a typical girl, not soft spoken, or super positive. She has serious trouble forgiving, and doesn't think everyone in the world is worth saving. She has no special abilities, and is super sassy.

I love her. She's my favorite female lead character ever. She faces insane odds over and over and while the first time she faces someone with a gun she freezes. Later in the series while being held against her will and forced to attend a big party she stand on top of a table and bellows the Japanese national anthem just to tork them off. I adore this series, and loved every second of it. I'm so sad it's over but seriously, read this manga! Best shojo EVER! (Unless you ain't large age gaps between love interests, then don't read it)

This was apart of my ElfQuest Reread. You will see that I read a lot, because I finished it. Fire Eye follows Jethel, who has now taken the name Fire Eye after the events of New Blood. After he was captured and escaped from his old friend Ahn-Lai, now Lord Ahn-Lai of Passage, Jethel has been staying in the Forevergreen, and eventually starts taking care of the forsaken children who flee to the forest to avoid abuse and neglect.

This is an interesting series and while it has no real end, it matches up perfectly with what's being going on in Final Quest, at least so far. I am eager to see what becomes of Jethel and Chot after the ending. I will explain where to read this when I do my ElfQuest Series Review coming in the next few months on my YouTube Channel.

ElfQuest: World Pool by Wendy and Richard Pini Parts 1 & 2
3/5 Stars

King's Cross is the biggest What If in ElfQuest. What if Cutter was half human? This is a very dark turn of events for ElfQuest where the tribe is from a newer time and is taken prisoner by the Djun. He forces Bearclaw to sleep with Shuna and they have Cutter. Very twisted, and yet I really do enjoy it. I'm glad there's only part 1 and 2, so it's about 40-50 pages long, which feels just enough for this darkness. And yet, I'm glad it exists. A solid 3 because it was fun, but too dark.

Hikaru no Go Volumes 20, 21, 22, and 23 by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata
5/5, 5/5, 4/5, 5/5

I finally managed to finish reading Hikaru no Go after it ceased serialization in Shonen Jump in 2006. Yeah, took me almost 10 years to finish this series, and it finished publication in 2011. >.> I'm bad sometimes.

Hikaru no Go follows the story of Hikaru, a 6th grader looking to make some cash to buy manga in his grandpa's attic, trying to find junk to sell. When he finds an old Go board, he starts hearing and seeing Fujiwara-no-Sai, an spirit of the greatest Go player who ever lived but committed suicide before he could play the "Divine Move".

These volumes follow the end of the series, where Hikaru is a pro and trying to move up in the ranks to stay toe to toe with Akira Toriyama. The only reason 22 is a 4 out of 5 is because what happens with Sai. I felt he left too soon, and that they hinted at it, and suddenly it happened. Hikaru's reaction made sense because it was very sudden and I'm not sure it's done well. Then again, the best plot twists take you by surprise. As a writer I approve. As a fan it ripped my heart out. But it ended strong and I kinda wished it would go on.

For those wondering what Go is, it's an ancient type of chess from Asia, popular in China, Korea, and Japan, as well as having teams world wide. Don't worry, the series explains it as you go along beautifully, so I could understand the basics of the games enough, and the characters explain things. Also there are little explanations of Go basics in the volumes as well as when it was in Shonen Jump. Another thing I love is that the Go games were looked over by a pro who made sure each move made sense and was completely correct. The amount of work that went into this is staggering and I just adore it for that even more.

So not only did CLAMP bring us a sequel to xxxHOLiC, but now one to Tsubasa!!! The second I found it I was reading it like mad, and powered through all the chapters in this volume in one sitting. After the insane events of XXX/Tsubasa cross over ending where the universes were saved by Tsubasa and Watanuki, Watanuki has discovered that Tsubasa has to make a dangerous and difficult decision in the next world he travels to. Upon reaching that world, Tsubasa learns he can perhaps meet with Syaoran, his father and clone if he saves Nirai Kanai, but at what cost?

This really feels a bit like the story never stopped. I'm sad that Sakura isn't in it, but as she is the princess and heir to the throne of her world, it makes sense. Fai and Kurogane are the same, and I loved seeing White Mokona again. The gang is back for a little adventure and it's already ripping my heart out.

Goodness I missed this! :)

From Far Away vols 8 and 9 by Kuoko Hikawa

Yet another reread, I had started this again randomly earlier in the year because it's my favorite romantic manga. I read all of these series back in high school, a friend of mine would bring tons of manga to school and she let me read this series on the bus. I read many a series that way, including the beginning of Fruits Basket, Fushigi Yugi, and this.

I adored this series when I first picked it up back then and it has withstood the test of time as a cute fun series. Noriko is a Japanese middle schooler with crazy dreams about a different world. When a terrorist places bombs around the city, Noriko stands next to one when it goes off. Instead of dying, Noriko is blasted into the world from her dreams when she meets Izark, a warrior with powers who helps her, especially as she is the Awakening, who will awaken the Sky Demon. Whoever controls the Awakening controls the Sky Demon, and can rule the world.

This volume Noriko and Izark are back together and have been helping different world leaders in various countries, but things are getting hairy so they have to separate from the others, and then they finally meet the being behind everything. It's really well done and these volumes are when the pace really picks up.

Catwoman Vol 4: Gotham Underground by Ann Nocenti, Rafa Sandoval, and Jordi Tarragona

The fourth volume of Catwoman takes place literally under ground, in the series of tunnels beneath Gotham were plenty of enemies and people live. We see a completely different culture with completely different rules, and Catwoman gets trapped down there and tries to get out. She goes through different clans each with their own traditions and rules, and gets caught up in the fight while trying to make it back to the surface of Gotham.

It's really interesting and a nice take of how there are indeed lots of different cultures out there where entire group rejects the typical Western society. It was intriguing, but as you can tell from the cover, Joker's Daughter is the main villain, and she rather...disgusting. Not the best volume but still well done I think.

The Protector by Carla Capshaw

I am not the biggest fan of romance, but when I read Carla Capshaw's The Gladiator, I loved it, and this is the sequel. And before you judge, it's NOT a trashy romance. This is from Steeple Hill's Love Inspired collection, meaning it's a religious romance with nothing beyond like, hand holding and maybe 1 kiss. There is no sex, which means I can actually read it!

This is the sequel to The Gladiator, which follows Adiona, a rich widower, and Quintus, a gladiator slave. And she falls for him, and he and her have been hurt. It's just cute fluff, really, but it does touch on how women were treated in the era more so than the first book. There is a third one but I don't know if I'm going to read it.

Last of the Jedi: Secret Weapon by Jude Watson

Secret Weapon is the 7th book in this series, and it's the third in Jude Watson's Star Wars universe, which seems to be its own, rather than Legends.

This series follows a Jedi Padawan named Ferus Olin that left the Jedi just before the Clone Wars started, so he survived Order 66. Afterwards he became a rebel and was recruited by Obi-Wan Kenobi to find other surviving Jedi to try to build a rebellion.

This volume takes place after Ferus has been recruited by the Emperor to change sides, and despite his closest friends knowing he's really there to undercut the Empire from the inside, some of them wonder, and the rest of the galaxy sees him as a sellout. This series I think is her best, and I really love following Ferus as he attempts to start the rebellion, even if it isn't canon or Legends.

Frosty the Snowman by Annie North Bedford and Corinne Malvern

This is the book that I bought, and read just to fulfill some of the reading goals I had set. I did not enjoy it, and I don't like that I own it. I really only bought and read it for the PopSugar Reading Challenge, which is why I am not doing a single challenge this year. It was a waste of my time and I was so stressed out about doing the challenge that I actually bought this. *sigh*

ElfQuest: Homespun by Wendy and Richard Pini

This is a short little story that was published in a magazine to promote ElfQuest. This was the introduction of the Preservers and Petalwing, back when ElfQuest Volume 3 was being published as single comics way back when. It's cute but super short, just a little something extra for fans. I recommend reading this at the end of the series or after volume 3, as it's just a bonus thingy.

ElfQuest: Worldpool by Wendy and Richard Pini

Worldpool is just another bonus grouping, and I recall that I had already reread these stories in New Blood and a few other titles. I enjoyed the stories in it so that's why it got a 3 star rating.

ElfQuest: Ashcan by Wendy and Richard Pini

This is strictly bonus pages, not really something you read but something you look at. I'd prefer this at the back of a volume rather than alone but it was on the website I kinda understand. I hope it will be included at the end of one of the Complete ElfQuest volumes.

Kekkaishi Vol 2 by Yellow Tanabe

I thought I had read this volume way back at the beginning of the year but I did not. I read MOST of it, I was short by 2 stupid chapters. So I finished it.

Like I said back in January, I am not too fond of this series mostly due to the grandpa being a straight up jerk. I don't like most of the relationship between the characters, but it starting to grow on me a bit. I'm not DNFing this, but I expect it will take me as long as Hikaru no Go to finish, maybe longer. It's about twice as long as HNG so it'll take forever.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan by Hiromu Arakawa
Based on a novel series by Yoshiki Tanaka Vols 1, 2, 3, 4

5/5 Stars

I actually read this in September, but I didn't realize that I could add it on Goodreads. I read up to date on during December so I'm adding this at the end. I adore this series and can't wait to see what else the brilliant Arakawa does next!

This follows the story of Arslan, a crown prince whose nation is invaded by the enemy army. His father is presumed dead, and the enemy is hunting Arslan to execute him publically. But even worse than the European invaders is the man in the silver mask, who has a personal vendetta against the royal family of Pals and vows to personally execute Arslan before his people.

This is yet another time where we see European and Asian cultures clash, but neither are shown in a good light. Both sides in this conflict are awful and have terrible histories and have done horrific things. And the innocent citizens of Pals and Arslan are caught in the middle.

This is based on a series of novels, but was adapted by the brilliant mangaka Hiromu Arakawa, who's name might sound familiar to you as the mangaka (author of both story and art) of Fullmetal Alchemist. It's brilliantly done, sitting solidly at a PG-13 or Teen rating, with some blood, language, and adult humor, but nothing too extreme. She's great at what she does, and even when the story isn't hers (such as with Hero Tales) her style is in every page, as she is in charge of the art, and layout of each page. I just found out there's 1 more chapter I have yet to read and I can't wait to get to it!!!

And that is everything I read in December! Stay tuned for my January and February Wrap Ups which will be posted on here, as well as my 2015 KittyBooks Awards and Year Wrap Up on my YouTube Channel. Follow me on Goodreads and Twitter for info about what I'm reading, and Tumblr and Pinterest for all my fangirling stuff. I will also attempt to get back into my fanfiction writing on Figment, so don't count me out of that! I can do quite a lot in between calls at work (all with permission of course).

I may also post my year in music as well, I'm not sure. I want to. It's fun to figure out what music rocked my year.

Hope you enjoyed! See you soon!